The Tech that Powers History’s Most Expensive College Basketball Arena
Moody Center is the most expensive college basketball arena in history. Here’s a look at the connected technology being used to draw fans in—and keep them engaged.
When the aging Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center needed to be replaced, the University of Texas wanted the new arena to not only be home to the Texas Longhorns Women & Men’s Basketball teams, but also serve as the newest entertainment venue in Austin, TX—the live music capital of the world.
This means the venue would be designed to host University of Texas Basketball games and graduations; university, community, high school and other events for the Austin community; and the biggest names in live entertainment, such as Madonna, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett.
Enter Moody Center, the University of Texas’ new arena. The size of the venue, combined with the technology it employs, makes it the most expensive college basketball arena in history. The $375 million, 15,000-seat arena is built for music and sports.
Moody Center is designed to bring people in—and keep them there. Fans enjoy immersive experiences from the moment they arrive at the interactive plaza until they get to their seats. Here are just a few examples of the connected technology being used at Moody Center.
Connected displays and screens everywhere
The center-hung video display system, ribbon display and marquee display are all designed to inform and entertain fans from any point in the arena.
Four center-hung LED displays bring crisp, clear images to spectators everywhere, with variable content zoning that supports one large image or video, replay and graphic content “zones” on certain displays.
Below these center-hung displays are a ring display and two additional video displays that share even more information and bring unique views to people sitting close to the action.
Finally, an LED ribbon display running around the perimeter of the stage amplifies event messaging and graphics throughout the venue.
Interactive digital art
A digital art piece within Moody Center features LED video technology and a layered assembly of light baffles, diffusive acrylic and CNC-cut veneer panels. It incorporates audio and uses infrared cameras embedded into the wall to detect people as they pass or stop in front of the display.
As visitors walk by the piece, it can detect movement and respond accordingly, providing a different experience for every interaction.
AI-Enabled security screening
To do everything possible to protect the health and safety of the people who enter, AI-powered sensors discreetly scan fans for weapons and prohibited items as they arrive—all without the need to step aside and empty pockets or open bags.
This keeps foot traffic moving quickly, prevents backups at entrances, reduces time spent in security lines and minimizes the number of security guards required at the front of the venue so they can move throughout the facility as needed.
To help fans satisfy their cravings faster, Moody Center uses self-checkout kiosks to double the number of point-of-sale systems they could bring into the building.
In addition to self-service, however, it’s also one of the few venues that offers grab-and-go concessions with open kitchen designs. Open-air, grab-and-go beverage coolers and food items, such as popcorn and chips, are available to fans, who can simply walk in, grab what they need and walk back out without waiting in line or putting their items down and searching for a payment method to use. Instead, AI-enabled cameras keep a running tally of your items, and payment is handled on the back end through mobile devices and apps once you exit.
Creating reliable connectivity
While it takes many types of technology to create the ultimate fan experience, the technologies in use at Moody Center have one thing in common: They all rely on network connectivity.
Balancing the needs of a major entertainment venue with a basketball arena required a unique and robust network infrastructure to make sure fans could enjoy a seamless live event experience. Access and network speeds prove to be vital in this state-of-the-art venue to support everything from digital tickets and directional signage to connecting social media and purchasing concessions.
Dual 10G backbones feed the venue, including public Wi-Fi and wired networks, along with 5G and 1G switches throughout the building—and they’re all supported by Belden through innovation like Digital Electricity™ Cables, fiber systems and Category 6A systems.
Thanks to the technology and features incorporated into the arena, Moody Center was named Best New Concert Venue Worldwide by Pollstar Magazine and recognized as the highest-grossing venue in the world for arenas of its size in 2022 by Billboard— even though it was open only half the year.
Learn more about how Belden supports the venue’s mission-critical applications.